Corn

Recipes: Keep that resolution to eat healthfully with 3 quinoa-based dishes

Makes 4 servings

Ají amarillo, an orange-yellow chili with a fruity yet earthy flavor, is ubiquitous in Peruvian cuisine. The fresh chilies are difficult to find in the United States, but ají amarillo paste, sold in jars, is available at well-stocked markets and specialty stores. The paste is key to the deep, spicy flavor of this chowder. If you can’t find it, use 1 or 2 minced jalapeños instead (if you like, seed the jalapeños for milder heat). The soup is especially good made with fresh, in-season corn but frozen corn kernels can be substituted. Serve with a simple salad of shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, and crumbled queso fresco.

Remember to rinse the quinoa to remove the naturally occurring saponin that gives it a bitter flavor. But check the packaging first, as some quinoa is prewashed.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

¼ cup ají amarillo paste (see headnote)

3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

8 ounces sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (1½ cups)

1½ cups corn kernels

¾ cup quinoa, preferably red, rinsed and drained (see note)

1¼ quarts (5 cups) low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped

Lime wedges, to serve

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ají amarillo paste, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the sweet potato, corn, quinoa, and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and quinoa are tender, 16 to 19 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Off heat, stir in the cream. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with mint, and serve with lime wedges.

Quinoa Cakes With Gruyère and Herbs
Quinoa Cakes With Gruyère and HerbsConnie Miller/of CB Creatives

Quinoa Cakes With Gruyère and Herbs

Makes 4 servings

These pan-fried quinoa cakes can be served with a side dish or made into sandwiches by tucking them into buns with toppings. To cook enough quinoa to make the cakes, in a large saucepan bring 1½ cups water and ½ cup quinoa (rinsed and drained) to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then cover, reduce to low, and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, drape a towel across the pan, re-cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and cool to room temperature.

2 large eggs

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

1½ cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature (see headnote)

2 scallions, finely chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon or dill or a combination

3 ounces Gruyère cheese or Gouda or smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (¾ cup)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons neutral oil

Mayonnaise mixed with chopped, fresh herbs (optional, for garnish)

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the panko and mix until moistened; set aside for 15 minutes. To the panko-egg mixture, add the quinoa, scallions, tarragon, cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix by hand, then form into four 3-inch patties, pressing firmly so they hold together. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the patties and cook until well browned on both sides, flipping once. Serve with the mayonnaise, if using.

Quinoa Chaufa

Makes 4 servings

The influx of Chinese immigrants into Peru in the 19th and 20th centuries gave rise to chifa cuisine, a fusion of Peruvian and Cantonese cooking. Chaufa, a popular chifa dish, is fried rice, but it’s not uncommon to see versions made with quinoa.

For our version, you can use store-bought, ready-to-eat quinoa; you will need two 8.8-ounce packages (make sure the sodium content doesn’t exceed about 250 mg per serving). Or to cook your own, in a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water and 1 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained) to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then cover, reduce to low, and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, drape a towel across the pan, re-cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and cool to room temperature.

3 tablespoons neutral oil

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated

1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped, or 1 cup shelled, frozen edamame, or a combination

4 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature (see headnote)

¼ cup soy sauce

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Chopped scrambled eggs or toasted sesame oil or both (optional, for garnish)

To a 12-inch nonstick skillet, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the scallion whites, ginger, and garlic, then cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper begins to soften. Add the quinoa and soy sauce, then cook, stirring, until the quinoa absorbs the soy and is heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with scallion greens. Top with the scrambled eggs and/or sesame oil, if using.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.


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